ADA offers solutions to fix a broken dental system

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oral health for the vulnerable
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The election presents a golden opportunity to remedy the enormous mess that the nation’s dental system is in, the Australian Dental Association says.

The peak body for dentists has a number of remedies on its election wish list to fix the system and is putting these to the major political parties for their pre-election consideration.

Over recent years the ADA has repeatedly called on the Federal Government to address the overwhelming and urgent need to set up a targeted and sustainable funding scheme to meet the needs of older, rural and low-income Australians.

“Yet here we are again in 2022 and nothing has been done—to say it is disappointing is an understatement,” ADA president Dr Mark Hutton said.

“People often ask the ADA why there isn’t such a scheme and I have no answer as to why this is not yet in existence. Governments of all colours have consistently failed to address this issue which affects millions.”

This election is an opportunity, says the ADA, to address the issue by:

  • establishing a Dental Benefits Scheme that provides older Australians with a capped entitlement to subsidised oral health services to address immediate needs;
  • ensuring all over 75s, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 55 and residents of aged care facilities get a mandatory and reportable oral health assessment;
  • overhauling the inadequate Aged Care Quality Standards so providers must meet oral care standards, as urged by the Aged Care Commission, mindful that unmet oral care standards result in serious whole-of-body health consequences;
  • implementation of core oral health study units in the Cert III Aged Care Courses to ensure staff are equipped to meet oral hygiene needs of residents, as there is currently a glaring inadequacy in this skill set.

“In the run-up to the election, the ADA is contacting all the main political parties to firm up what their election commitments are to improve the oral health of our vulnerable Australians,” Dr Hutton said.

“We don’t want this election to be another groundhog day where no advances are made in righting this appalling situation.”

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